You should have an attorney that asks for it on your behalf if you are eligible for it, which it sounds like you are.
I am a criminal defense and DWI/DUI attorney practicing in Westchester and the NYC Metro area. My answers are intended for general informational purposes only, based upon the limited information provided in the questions, and do not establish any attorney-client relationship. All readers of my answers are advised to contact an attorney in order to discuss their questions in full and get full answers. Thank you.
If this is your first arrest you will undoubtedly be offered this at arraignment (provided you are in a jurisdiction where you are represented by either private, or assigned, counsel at the first appearance). If you are not offered it then your attorney should ask for one. Barring something you have not included in your question the granting of such should be relatively routine.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is even with an ACD there could be some repercussions with any Federal Student Aid you might currently, or in the future hopefully going to, be getting. There are ins and outs to this that are beyond the space given here to answer but it is something to keep in mind and to discuss with your attorney,
If you're an Honor Student, you're obviously bright enough to know the impact a criminal record could have on your future. You should also therefore recognize the benefit of retaining competent criminal defense counsel to represent you.
Having a competent defense attorney is the best way to improve your chances of getting the ACD. In any event, to answer your second question - NO, you do NOT plead guilty. You plead NOT GUILTY until an acceptable plea is worked out.
Because this is your first marijuana offense, you'll likely walk away with an ACD. Your attorney will ask for one at your next court appearance. It's important to note that if granted an ACD, you cannot get re-arrested for another offense within the next 12 months or else you'll be in violation.
Disclaimer: no attorney-client relationship exists until you have a completed and signed Letter of Engagement setting forth the terms and conditions required to formally retain our law office and have fulfilled the payment obligations described therein. The representations, opinions and information set forth in this answer do not constitute legal advice and do not form an attorney-client relationship.
While I agree with the prior comments, keep in mind that depending on the facts, it is also possible to get the case dismissed outright. Speak to your attorney
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